Lori Simcox, Co-owner of Unity Clothing Inc.
It’s only work, if you don’t enjoy what you do. And Lori loves her jobs. “Sometimes I think there is just not enough time in the day to do everything I want to,” she says.
It’s impossible not to admire Lori’s work ethic, savvy business approach and accomplishments which have landed her picture on the cover of BC Business magazine in August 2012 in an article about Indigenous business in B.C.
If you’re a local in The Shipyards District then her name may be familiar as the co-owner, with her friend Heidi, of Unity Clothing Inc., which opened in 2011. She credits Heidi for having a vision in choosing the Lower Lonsdale location, complete with stunning Vancouver city views. Lori adores the neighbourhood declaring it has everything you need, a great sense of community and is the embodiment of the entrepreneurial mindset. “What’s not to love,” she says.
But, before there was Unity Clothing Inc. in North Vancouver, there was Unity Clothing Inc in Whitehorse, Yukon which launched the brand in 2010. She was looking to do something completely different from her other jobs and she and Heidi saw a need in Whitehorse for a clothing store offering good quality fashionable clothes at great prices – together they brought the same concept to North Vancouver.
Lori grew up in a close-knit community in Whitehorse, and as a member of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. She feels lucky for the childhood she had, having met most of her current close friends in kindergarten. Lori was also ambitious and driven, so she moved to Vancouver for school and career. “My family was convinced I was going to become a lawyer, though I’m not sure why,” says Lori. “Maybe it was because I liked to get my point across. I always knew I would be involved in business in some way, and I enjoyed coming up with innovative ideas.”
Lori has spent the last 19 years as an internal management consultant/senior project manager for the Economic Development Department of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and for the past eight years she’s held the position of CEO of SPAL General Constructors Corporation (wholly-owned by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver). She’s sat on the technical working board for the Four Host First Nation’s Olympic Secretariat, was involved in the development of Takaya Tours Inc., an award-winning Indigenous local tourism business, and continues to serve on many prestigious boards.
What helped shape her? She says it was her dedication to education. She went straight to university after high school, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, a few years later completed her Master of Business Administration at Royal Roads University, and then earned her Certified Management Consultant (CMC) with the Canadian Association of Management Consultants. “I think the work ethic that I had to establish to get through and succeed in those programs has helped me achieve what I have in my career to date,” she says.
Lori is equally dedicated to the success of Unity Clothing Inc. and the group of young women, who help keep the shop running. She and Heidi offer them the opportunity to gain as many valuable business skills on the job as possible, paying it forward to the next generation of business women.
Five things you may not know about Lori:
When Lori isn’t working, volunteering, or out for a run, you’ll find her having a blast interacting with her clients at Unity Clothing Inc. 108 Victory Ship Way www.shopunitynorthvan.com